A photographic orb, also known as backscatter, is defined on Wikipedia as “Backscatter commonly occurs in low-light scenes when the camera’s flash is used. Cases include nighttime and underwater photography, when a bright light source and reflective unfocused particles are near the camera. Light appears much brighter very near the source due to the inverse-square law, which says light intensity is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source.” The small object is out of focus compared to the rest of the image giving it a larger foggy reflective appearance. An orb is caused by anything from dust, humidity, insects, pollen, pet dander, or plant life just to name a few. These particles may be free floating or resting upon the camera lens. These artifacts in photos are very common and very often misinterpreted as something paranormal due to misinformation that has been propagated over the years.
The Orb phenomena was fueled in the mid to late 1990’s by “Dr.” Dave Oester whose Yahoo! Groups page boasted thousands of followers. Mr. Oester claimed that he coined the term “Orb” and took credit for creating the hysteria, although both claims are completely incorrect. Photographic/video orbs have been documented since photography gained quick shutter speeds and a flash. The hysteria was already there as he utilized the popular misconceptions and just added a few of his own. He claimed that Orbs were in fact ghosts and could easily be captured anywhere and anytime (he was a major advocate of ghost hunting in cemeteries since it was popular with new people and would add followers). After being brought to school by many skeptics and Parapsychologists he quickly jumped ship.
A real electromagnetic based orb would be self illuminating and perceivable as an object free floating and projecting its own light whether or not it is in range of the electromagnetic spectrum that we are able to perceive with our eyes. One type of orb that would be visible to the naked eye that produces its own light would be one of plasma. There are four forms of matter as recognized by the scientific community. These forms of matter are liquid, solid, gas, and plasma. A plasma orb would be would be very visible to the naked eye and would be very brief in tenure.
Is it possible for paranormal activity to present itself in the form of an orb? Never say never, however I haven’t ever witnessed one myself.